School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics

Paul Decock

Paul Decock


Honorary Professor


Biblical Studies


Contact Number



Pietermaritzburg Campus

Office Address

Degrees Held

  • MA(Biblical Studies), University of Natal;
  • ThD (Biblical Studies) Gregorian University, Rome.

Research Interests

  • Jewish and Early Christian Apocalyptic literature
  • History of biblical interpretation, Judaism and Early Christianity
  • Biblical Hermeneutics
  • Philo of Alexandria; Origen
  • Early Christian Spirituality
  • New Testament Books: Luke-Acts; Book of Revelation; Gospel of John


  • 1991: Hartin, P J, Connor, B F
    & Decock P B (eds). Becoming a creative local Church: Theological
    reflections on the Pastoral Plan. Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications.  List this here
  • 1981:  The Understanding of Isaiah 53:7-8 in Acts 8:32-33. Neotestamentica 14, 111-133
  • 1993: The reading of sacred texts in the context of Early Christianity. Neotestamentica 27, 263-283
  • 1999: Some issues in apocalyptic in the exegetical literature of the last decade. Neotestamentica. 33, 1-33.
  • 2003: The truth or falsity of myths in Origen of Alexandria. Acta Patristica et Byzantina, 14,112-135.
  • 2005: On the Value of Pre-Modern Interpretation of Scripture for Contemporary Biblical Studies. Neotestamentica 39 (1), 57-74.
  • 2008: Jerome’s turn to the Hebraica Veritas and his rejection of the traditional view of the Septuagint. Neotestamentica42, 205-222.
  • 2008: Allegorizing: The relevance of an old method of interpretation. Acta Theologica. Supplementum 11, 1-19.
  • 2010: Origen’s Christian Approach to the Song of Songs, Religion & Theology 17, 13-25.
  • 2011: Origen’s Theological and Mystical Approach to the Scriptures in the Introduction to His Commentary on John’s Gospel, in In die Skiflig 45 (2&3),673-688.
  • 2011: Origen of Alexandria: The Study of the Scriptures as Transformation of the Readers into Images of the God of Love, HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 67(1), Art. #871, 8 pages. DOI: 10.4102/hts.v67i1.87 
  • 2013: Discernment in Origen of Alexandria. Acta Theologica: Supplementum, 17:189-208.
  • 2015: Philo of Alexandria: A Model for Early Christian ‘Spiritual Readings’ of the Scriptures. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies Vol 71, No 1, 8 pages. doi: 10.4102/hts.v71i1.3069,
  • 2015: Bernard’s Reading of the Song of Songs 2:4-5: Wounded by love – putting order in love. Journal for Semitics24(2):701-718.
  • 2016: Normativity of the Bible: Actualizing the Text in Ways that Are Worthy of God. Neotestamentica  50.3 Special Edition 187–211.
  • 2016: Philo of Alexandria: Holiness as Self-Possession and Self-Transcendence. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies 72(4), a3458. http://dx.doi. org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3458.
  • 1978: Poverty and riches in the theology of Luke, in K Nürnberger (ed) 1978. Affluence, poverty and the Word of God. An interdisciplinary study program of the Missiological Institute Mapumulo. Durban: Lutheran Publishing House, 153-162.
  • 2003: The Shift towards the Contribution of Ordinary Readers in the South African Approach to       the Bible, in Schreurs, N & Plastow, Th (eds). Juxtaposing Contexts: Doing Contextual Theology in South Africa and the Netherlands.Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications,    29-62.
  • 2007: The Bible in the Life of Church in the South African Context. Pages 27-37 in Human Wisdom and Divine Wisdom: Biblical Readings in the Context of the Church in Africa. Proceedings of the Twelfth Congress of the Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes. Edited by Jean-Bosco Matand Bulembat. Nairobi: Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes,
  • 2008: Can the Church Fathers help us to develop a better approach to the actualization of Scripture? Pages 329-342 in African and European Readers of the Bible in Dialogue: In Quest for a Shared Meaning. Edited by Hans de Wit and Gerald O. West. Leiden / Boston: Brill.
  • 2009: Hostility against the Wealth of Babylon: Revelation 17:1-19:10. in Animosity, the Bible, and Us: Some European, North American, and South African Perspectives. Edited by John T. Fitzgerald, Fika J. van Rensburg, and H. F. van Rooy. (Global Perspectives on Biblical Scholarship 12). Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, pp. 263-286.
  • 2010: The Reception of the Letter to Philemon in the Early Church: Origen, Jerome, Chrysostom, and Augustine. Pages 273-287 in Philemon in Perspective: Interpreting a Pauline Letter.      Edited by D.F. Tolmie, (ISBN 978-3-11-022173-2). (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche, 169), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
  • 2012: Images of war and creation, of violence and nonviolence in the Revelation of John, in Coping with Violence in the New Testament. Edited by Pieter G.R. de Villiers and Jan Willem van Henten. Leiden: Brill. ISSN 1566 – 208X Studies in Theology and Religion 16.  pp. 185-200.
  • 2012: The Resurrection according to Origen of Alexandria, in Resurrection of the Dead:    Biblical Traditions in Dialogue.Edited by Van Oyen G. & T Shepherd . Leuven: Peeters. ISBN: 978-90-429-2689-9. Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, 249, pp. 497-516.
  • 2013. Between the Whore and the Bride: Apocalypse 17-22: Listening to Feminist Readings. Pages 373-399 in Women in the Bible: Points of View of African Biblical Scholars (Proceedings of the Fourteenth Congress of the Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes, Lusaka 2011). Edited by P. Béré, M.S. Nwachukwu & A. I. Umoren. Abidjan: Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes.
  • 2015: Inspiring Social Transformation in Africa: Solidarity Expressed through Koinonia and Equality. Pages 353-374 in Bible and Pastoral Issues in Africa (Proceedings of the Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes, Cote d’Ivoire 2013). Edited P. Béré, P. Fabien, M.S. Nwachukwu & I. Obinwa. Abidjan: Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes.
  • 2016: The Influence of Origen on Bernard of Clairvaux’s Sermons on the Song of Songs: The interpretation of Cant 2:4b. Pages 405-414 in Origeniana Undecima. Origen and Origenism in the History of Western Thought, edited by A.-C. Jacobsen, ISBN 978-90-429-3307-1, Leuven: Peeters (BETL 279).


  • Raymond Razafimahatratra: Application of Some Basic Methods in Exegesis of Romans 6:1-14: Textual, Philological-Grammatical, Structural Approaches, and Reader Response (graduated 2005).
  • Sean Collins: The Attitude of the Fathers of the Church to the Jews in Origen (Graduated 2005).
  • Rolf E Schmidt, The New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation. (Graduated 2007).
  • Susan Bronkhorst: The Holy Spirit in St. Athanasius. (Graduated 2009).
  • Gilbert Zenda: The phenomenon of small house in Zimbabwe: A contradiction of Genesis 2: 18-24. (Graduated 2009).
  • Laureen  Confait, An Exegetical Study of the Gospel of John 15:1-8 (Graduated 2015).
  • Michael Emmanuel Ndau, A contextual reading of Origen’s and St Augustine’s views on Love (EROS) in our present context of advertising (Graduated 2015).
  • Raymond Razafimahatratra: The Sustaining Power of the Bible to the Martyrs of Madagascar from 1828 to 1861: A Historical and Hermeneutical Analysis. (graduated Cum Laude 2006).
  • Joseph Mukuna: Language and Theology: A Case Study of the Metaphor of Breathing in John 20: 22. (graduated 2012)
  • May Miller, Returning Mary Magdalene to the Gospel Pages (graduated 2015 Cum Laude) (with Prof. Susan Rakoczy as Joint Supervisor).
  • Eduard Kitoko Nsiku: Understanding the Concept of God’s Pathos: One of the Keys for the Religious and Socio-Political Transformations of the Sub-Saharan Part of Africa Since 1960. (Co-supervisor with Prof. Gerald West; graduated 2003).
  • Humphrey Waweru: A Critical Analysis of the Vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-22:5 in Light of the Kikuyu Concept of Dreams and Visions. (With Prof. J.A. Draper as co-supervisor: graduated 2006).
  • Luke G. Mlilo: John the Baptist in Luke-Acts. (Co-supervisor with Prof. J.A. Draper; Graduated  in 2007)
  • Sylvester David: A Retrospective and a Prospective Reading of Jn 1:1-18 Using the Method of Biblical Rhetorical Analysis. (Graduated 2012).
  • Joseph Nzita Mavinga: The semah sedaqah of Jeremiah 33:15 and Its Significance for the Congolese Church. (Graduated in 2009).
  • Zaihita Zaihita: The Understanding of Humility (anawa) in the Book of Proverbs and its Relevance in the Context of the Malagasy People. (graduated in 2012).
  • Bruk Ayele Asale: 1 Enoch in Jude and in EOC Canon: Developing a Proper Understanding of Second Temple Period Literature (STL) in Ethiopian Churches for a better understanding of each other and mutual cooperation (graduated 2015).

Community Involvement

  • Directing retreats
  • Spiritual direction of members of the surrounding communities
  • Chaplaincy to the Italian Prisoner of War Memorial Church, PMB

Teaching Expertise

  • Biblical Studies
  • Early Christian Literature